Church gives Osseo schools lunch money for struggling families

 A local church is sending money to Osseo schools for families that struggle to pay for school lunches, even if those families don't meet the free lunch requirement.

There are many families in the Osseo School District who don't quite qualify for free or reduced lunches, but still need the financial help. Passion, a local church, is trying to fill that gap.

According to the Bible, Jesus fed 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Pastor Jonathan Brozozog is trying to do something like that. His church recently started a program called "School Lunch Matters," promising to give $1,500 each month, no strings attached, to the Osseo School District.

"I just think with all the things under-privileged kids have to worry about, what if the one thing they don't have to worry about was lunch," Brozozog said.

Forty percent of the families in the district are on free or reduced lunches and then there's another group that tends to go unnoticed. About 1,320 families don't quite qualify, but still need the financial help, running negative balances on lunch accounts because they're never turned away.

School leaders say this ongoing gift will help eliminate $12,000 remaining in negative lunch balances this year, helping the district avoid a financial hit. Brozozog says this commitment is also helping relieve a burden on him.

On Sundays, he leads Passion church inside the auditorium of Maple Grove High School, one of the larger schools in the district. The pastor says it's hard to worship, knowing the problem is just down the hallway.

"We don't need to go to another country to meet a need, there's a need right in the same room," he said.

While he hopes other donors jump aboard to help sustain the program, Brozozog says he'll be there as long as there's a need.

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